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Exercise May Help to Prevent Dementia

More than 80 percent of North Americans over the age of 85 suffer from some form of dementia. A new study in rats helps to explain why exercise could help to prevent or delay this dreaded condition (Sci Rep, 2017 Sep 7;7(1):10903). A group of rats were kept in cages that had exercise wheels,...

Competitive Athletes and Doping

An important article in the May 19, 2017 New York Times discusses the latest accusations that some of America's top athletes are using supplements, both legal and illegal, in the hope that they will improve athletic performance. I will present a brief review of some of the supplements that the accused U.S. athletes are taking and comment on their effectiveness or worthlessness, side effects and potential dangers to their health.

Exercise Improves Gut Bacteria

Many studies show that exercise helps to prevent heart attacks, and it may do so by changing the bacteria in your colon. A recent study from Finland shows that exercising for just six weeks can increase healthful anti-inflammatory bacteria in your colon.

Families with Diabetes Produce Strong Athletes

A study from Italy confirms that elite track and field athletes who have a family history of diabetes have larger muscles, weigh more, and are better athletes (Springerplus, 2014;3:224). Forty six young male élite athletes were tested; thirteen with a family history of diabetes and thirty-three without. The athletes were asked to pedal or...

Overnight Fasting to Increase Speed and Endurance

A new study from France shows that night-time fasting after intense workouts on alternate days helps athletes exercise longer and faster. The test group ate a low-carbohydrate dinner after their intense afternoon workout and then fasted for 13 hours before their morning recovery workout, then ate larger amounts of carbohydrates after their recovery workouts. The control group ate their meals as they wished, with no fasting requirement.

How to Keep Your Maximum Heart Rate Up as You Age

Your maximum heart rate is the fastest your heart can beat and still pump blood effectively through your body. As you age, your maximum heart rate drops. This means that your heart is weaker and more susceptible to damage, and you can't exercise as fast over distance as you could when you were younger.

Protein Supplements Don’t Make You Stronger

A researcher posing as a 15-year-old football player called 244 health food stores across the United States and asked if they would sell him protein supplements to give him larger muscles. More than two-thirds of sales attendants at the health food stores recommended that he buy the protein supplement, creatine.

How to Pedal a Bicycle

You should pedal with the ball of your foot, not your arch. The ankle is the fulcrum for the force you generate with your feet. The ball of your foot is further away from the ankle than your arch so you generate far more force with the ball of your foot. As you straighten your...

Sarcopenia (Muscle Loss with Aging) Linked to Inflammation

We can now add sarcopenia, loss of strength and muscle size with aging, to the list of medical problems associated with inflammation. Older people who suffer from sarcopenia are far more likely to have high blood levels of the markers of inflammation such as CRP, SED rate and adiponectin.

Electronic Ab Machines

Your brain does send an electrical impulse along nerves that enter muscles to cause them to contract. The electrical impulses generated by ab machines are so weak that they can't possibly cause contractions that strengthen muscles significantly. If they did give you enough electricity to strengthen your muscles, they would give you a very painful shock.

Lack of Fitness, Not Too Much Sitting, Shortens Lives

A new study suggests that it is the level of fitness, not time spent sitting, that predicts susceptibility to disease and longevity.

Resistance Exercise You Can Do at Home

Resistance exercise is the best way to slow down the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging, and I believe that everyone should do some type of resistance exercise (moving your muscles against an opposing force) as part of their regular exercise program.

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis means you feel pain in the large tendon that extends from in the back of your heel to your calf muscle. It hurts most when you get up in the morning and when you start to walk or run. It will heal only if you stop running and find another sport that doesn't hurt when you do it, such as cycling, swimming, or pulling on a rowing machine.

Weight Lifting for Middle-Aged and Older People

A resistance exercise program can help to slow the loss of muscle fibers and improve mobility as people age. Lifting weights or using Nautilus-type resistance training machines will strengthen your skeletal muscles, help to prevent broken bones from falls, and make your heart stronger to reduce risk of heart failure.

Sleep to Recover from Hard Exercise

Sleeping can help to prevent exercise injuries. Healthy U.S. soldiers in training are less likely to suffer exercise-related injuries such as fractures, sprains and muscle strains when they sleep at least eight hours at night.

Avoiding Overtraining

Exercising too much can affect your brain as well as your muscles. Athletes and dedicated exercisers often suffer from an overtraining syndrome in which their performance drops, their muscles feel sore and they are tired all the time.

Exercise Preserves Brain Function

People who exercise into later life are smarter than those who do not exercise. To prove that exercise preserves brain function, studies must show that the loss of brain function with aging is not just genetic. Identical twins have exactly the same genes, so a study on twins can yield stronger results to show which environmental factors help to prevent loss of brain function.

Making Muscles Stronger

If you want to make a muscle stronger, you have to exercise it intensely enough to damage the muscle fibers and when they heal, they will be stronger than they were. You can tell you are causing muscle damage because of the burning you will feel during exercise and the soreness in that muscle you feel four to eight hours later.

Preparing for Baseball

Parents often ask me what their children can do to prepare for their baseball season. Because training is specific, they should be training for baseball 12 months a year. There are very few kids who are so gifted that they can be very good in several sports. Many children start training in one...

Should You Carry Weights during Exercise?

The only advantage to exercising while carrying weights is that you can get more exercise while moving slowly. To strengthen your heart, you have to exercise vigorously enough to increase your heart rate at least 20 beats a minute above resting.

Should You Wear a Mask When You Exercise Outdoors?

The problem with wearing masks when you exercise outdoors is that they can limit your ability to breathe. This may not be an issue if you are doing casual exercise, but if you are running or cycling vigorously, you will probably find yourself gasping for air.

Mild Dehydration Does Not Impair Exercise

There is no data anywhere to show that mild dehydration affects health or athletic performance. Fit humans can tolerate significant fluid loss before their performance suffers, and most cases of muscle cramps are not caused by dehydration or salt loss.

Dizziness in Athletes

Athletes and other very fit people may feel dizzy when they rise from lying to standing because of their slow pulse rates. Exercise makes your heart stronger so it can pump more blood with each beat and it doesn't have to beat as often.

Mary Cain and Forced Weight Loss for Sports

Mary Cain was unbeatable in high school races. At age 16, she became the youngest athlete ever to represent the U.S at a World Championship track meet, and at age 17, she was the 2014 World Junior Champion in the 3000 meter run.

Anabolic Steroids

When I look at today's baseball players, I just can't believe how big they are. They are larger and stronger than the best players of the 1930s to 1970s. Babe Ruth, arguably the greatest hitter who ever lived, was a fat elephant with relatively small muscles and a huge belly compared to the average player today.

Running Stride Length and Speed

Your most efficient stride length is determined by what feels most comfortable to you. You cannot run faster by consciously trying to increase your stride length. When you run, your foot hits the ground with great force. The tendons in your legs absorb some of this energy and then contract forcibly after your heel hits the ground, so you regain about 60 to 75 percent of that stored energy. When you try to take a stride that is longer than your natural one, you lose a great deal of this stored energy, tire much earlier and move your legs at a slower rate.

Prepare for a Marathon

Many marathon runners think that they have to run 100 miles a week to compete successfully, but most will be able to run a marathon faster if they run fewer than 50 miles a week. Top marathon runners can run 100 miles a week and not be injured because of their superior genes.

Do You Need a Heart Rate Monitor?

All maximum heart rate formulae are based on averages. They can be used to help you plan and monitor your exercise program, but they should not be interpreted as absolute limits or goals. Your maximum heart rate may differ from these averages. Whether you are a competitive athlete or an ordinary exerciser, you really do not need a heart rate monitor.

Don’t Straighten Your Knees When You Ride a Bicycle

The most common cause of knee pain in bicycle riders is having the seat set so high that it forces you to fully straighten the knee as the pedal reaches its lowest level. You are never supposed to fully straighten your knee when you do any kind of exercise, particularly cycling or running.

Intervals for Everyone

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveyed more than 4,000 fitness professionals and found that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the most popular trend in fitness for 2018. All healthy people can benefit from some form of interval training. They can pick up the pace for a few seconds while walking, running, cycling, swimming, skiing or skating, and then slow down when they feel the least discomfort.